By Jim Kouri
Terrorist cell members who plotted to assassinate Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai were captured, according to an American police advisor who spoke with the Law Enforcement Examiner on Thursday afternoon.
The plot was thwarted by Afghan intelligence officers with the National Directorate of Security (NDS).
The terrorist cell was composed of six people including university professors, students and a Presidential Palace security guard. The suspects allegedly conspired to assassinate President Karzai, according to the police advisor who requested anonymity.
The arrested men included Kabul University’s Professor Amal Habib, a/k/a Assadullah, four university students and a Presidential Palace guard, the official said.
The terrorists were allegedly plotting the attack and assassination with al-Qaeda, who continue to hold President Karzai responsible for the U.S.-led coalition’s surge in Afghanistan. Terrorists and Taliban insurgents fighting against Afghan government troops and police have successfully targeted government officials, social figures and religious leaders, killing or wounding them.
For example, Afghan insurgents carried out a suicide attack against former president and head of government-backed peace body the High Council for Peace, Burhanudin Rabbani, in his Kabul residence on September 20, killing the popular leader and shocking the Afghan people.
Afghan military and police significantly more qualified, says commander
Afghan security forces are moving forward and will be able to assume the lead for security in December 2014, according to an American Forces Press Service report by Sergeant 1st Class Tyrone Marshall.
Speaking to Pentagon reporters, U.S. Army Lieutenant General William B. Caldwell IV, commander of NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, said the Afghan army and national police have made “tremendous” progress.
Caldwell used Afghan army recruitment statistics as an example of progress. “[In] September 2009, only 800 young men decided they wanted to join the Afghan national army,” he said. “This past month in September, we had over 8,000 young men decide to join the Afghan national army.
“And that’s not something that just happened this month,” Caldwell continued. “It’s been going on since December of 2009, where we’ve had more than ample recruits every single month volunteering to join and become a part of the Afghan national army and the Afghan national police.”
Caldwell cited standardization as reason more than 114,000 new members have joined Afghan security forces in the past 23 months.
“There are a lot of individual, disparate efforts, great pockets of excellence, out there around this country in many different areas,” he said. “But one thing NATO training mission was able to do, was to get a standardized program of instructions set not only for the army, but also now for the police forces, too, of Afghanistan.”
Another critical action, according to Caldwell, was transitioning from NATO trainers to Afghan trainers.
“We’ve really worked hard at … going from what was an all-contractor-based training program … here in the fall of 2009, to a coalition-led training program now evolving into an Afghan-led training program,” Caldwell said.